Carsten Rott, New Chair of Physics & Astronomy


Professor Carsten Rott has been selected as new chair of the Department of Physics & Astronomy. Rott holds the Jack W. Keuffel Memorial Chair in High Energy Astrophysics and will replace Christophe Boheme as department chair beginning August 1.

Rott’s research explores the Universe in a fundamentally new way, using high-energy neutrinos detected with the IceCube Neutrino Telescope. In particular he is interested in searching for signatures of new physics associated with the high-energy neutrinos we detect. He also searches for new phenomena with the JSNS2 experiment which aims to search for oscillations involving a sterile neutrino in the eV2 mass-splitting range. (A sterile neutrino is believed to interact only via gravity and not via any of the other fundamental interactions of the Standard Model.)

Rott currently focuses on constructing next-generation neutrino detectors to better understand the sources of the most energetic phenomena in the Universe and to probe physics at fundamentally new scales. His team constructs calibration systems for the IceCube Upgrade and develops solutions for a very large volume neutrino detector at the South Pole, building on the expertise of the pioneering cosmic ray experiments conducted by the University of Utah. He also seeks sustainable solutions to construct future experiments with minimal environmental impact.  He can also be found working at Hyper-Kamiokande, a neutrino observatory being constructed on the site of the Kamioka Observatory, near Kamioka, Japan, and he seeks for dark matter with COSINE experiment.

After studying physics as an undergraduate at the Universität Hannover, Rott went on to receive a Ph.D. from Purdue University for work on the Collider Detector at Fermilab (CDF). He has been a member of the IceCube Neutrino Telescope since the start of the construction of the detector in 2005.  As a postdoctoral researcher at Penn State University he performed detector calibration and verification efforts for IceCube. For this task he traveled multiple times to the Amundsen Scott South Pole Station. Later he moved to The Ohio State University as a senior fellow of the Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics (CCAPP). In 2013 he became an assistant professor at Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea and was subsequently promoted to tenured associate Professor.

In 2021 Rott became a professor at the U where most recently he served as department director of graduate studies. He will hold the position of chair through December 2025.

Rott “is an exceptional educator and researcher, and has my complete confidence and support in his role as Chair,” remarked Peter Trapa, dean of the College of Science who made the announcement on June 28. “I look forward to working with Carsten to advance the department, particularly as it moves to its new home in the Crocker Science Complex in 2025.”

“I am grateful to Professor Christoph Boehme for his leadership over the past four years, first as Interim Chair, and then as Chair for the last three years.,” Trapa continued. “Christoph has made deep contributions to the department in advancing its research and educational missions during a time that was often consumed with the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Boheme will serve as Special Advisor to the Chair for the period August 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024.

About the Department

New home for the Dept. of Physics & Astronomy

The U’s  Department of Physics & Astronomy is committed to pursuing key science questions within an inclusive academic community; to training and diversifying the next generation of researchers, educators, and technology workforce leaders; and to inspiring an appreciation for knowledge in students and the wider community.

In pursuit of this mission, the department supports the highest levels of research and teaching among its faculty members. We strive to enable the success of undergraduate and graduate students by creating an academically excellent, efficient, and comfortable learning environment. Our goal is that organizations and individuals in the local and global community will benefit from our research and accomplishments.

The Department of Physics & Astronomy will be relocating from the James Fletcher Building to the new Applied Science Project as part of the Crocker Science Complex. The department will offer classes in its new home in Spring Semester, 2025.